Updated: Jan 7, 2021
By Rep. Anita Kulik
As we happily (and with great anticipation of better times) welcome 2021, I think back to New Year's Day 2000. At that time, it seemed that all we had to worry about was a possible worldwide internet crash, an event that mercifully never happened. I recall watching the ball drop and then immediately joining with everyone to make sure the lights and cell phones were still functioning.
After this past year, the hysteria of 2000 seems minuscule. But here we are in 2021, and we can feel and seize new empowerment to move ahead together.
Over the holidays I watched our daughter work non-stop to organize vaccinations in her region.
She is a pharmacist and was tasked with hiring, training, and assigning pharmacists and technicians to get the COVID-19 vaccines to as many people as possible. She spent Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and weeks of time to schedule, reschedule, confirm, reconfirm — well, you get the idea.
I watched her preparing binders of documents (a task that I was grateful to assist her with) while balancing phone calls and emails and text messages. I watched her, and thought of all the women and men who were doing the same thing in our area, and all around the country.
It certainly was a herculean task, but as the process begins and moves forward, we can now live with great hope of better times, better in so many ways.
I wonder how, 20 years from now, we will look back on 2020.
How will we relate this story to our children and grandchildren? I hope it will be with a sense of pride that we came together and worked together.
I hope that we will, with a sense of pride, tell them the roles that we played, whether as healthcare workers or as essential workers, or as just "ordinary" people who stepped up in the crisis, people who sacrificed for the common good.
As the year came to an end, there was some good news for the 45th district. Several organizations will benefit from grants from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.
The RACP grants were awarded to various groups in our area, including the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall (what I like to call the "Carnegie Carnegie"), COVESTRO, Nazareth Prep, St. Clair Hospital's Outpatient Center, and the Friends of Pittsburgh Professional Soccer, that being for continued development of the sports and health complex located along Route 51.
RACP is a grant program administered by the Office of the Budget to aid in the acquisition and construction of regional civic, economic, cultural, recreational, and/or historical improvement projects that will have regional and economic impact.
As with our grant programs, I am proud and pleased to help bring attention to these projects and see that these projects were given consideration and awarded grants. I look forward to watching these projects progress.
I want to offer a few reminders of importance to all of us. A new law was put in effect that requires motorists to exercise greater caution when encountering emergency situations on roadways.
The new "move over law" will hopefully help protect first responders and law enforcement personnel, working at emergency scenes, and will also help protect any of us that may be experiencing difficulties on the roadways. Motorists encountering emergency and similar scenes must "move over" to the other lane, so as to give room to those rendering aid and assistance.
In situations where it is not possible to "move over," drivers must reduce speed by at least 20 mph under the posted speed limit.
We are also back to dealing with the REAL ID law, and the mandates related to that. The coronavirus crisis put the brakes on many different enforcement issues (such as licenses and gun permits and so much more).
However, we are now back to addressing the REAL ID requirements, and we must meet the new deadline of Oct. 1, 2021. I would caution that this can be a long process because of the documentation that is needed.
Please feel free to reach out to my staff or me for assistance with birth certificates, marriage documentation, Social Security cards, or other documentation that you may need.
I offer my very best wishes to you and yours. Thank you for the privilege and honor of representing you in Harrisburg!